Online brand finds success with weight management line

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Nutratech produces its products via contract manufacturers, including this one in Miami.  Photo: Nutratech
Nutratech produces its products via contract manufacturers, including this one in Miami. Photo: Nutratech

Related tags ecommerce

An online supplement seller has bet hard on a suite of new weight loss products, further signaling a reinvigoration of this long moribund category.

Nutratech, a supplement brand based in Houston, has been in business for about four years. CEO Jeremy Danvers said the company's new line capitalizes on an ongoing need in the marketplace.

Even if some weight loss products have overpromised and underdelivered in the past (remember all those “targets belly fat”​ commercials?), people still want to lose weight.

Continued potential

“We have a complete line of supplements for men and women, but we thought the potential in the weight loss category is huge,”​ he said.

The recent resuscitation of longtime weight loss powerhouse brands SlimFast and Jenny Craig​ bolster Danvers’ assertion that despite recent headwinds, there is still strong underlying demand in the weight management sector.

The baseline demographics certainly augur well for future sales. The national and worldwide obesity statistics continue to trend up. According to 2013-2014 NHANES data, more than 70% of US adults are now considered to be overweight or obese. About 8% of adults fell into the extreme obesity category. Obesity rates climbed in every state in the 2000-2017 time frame. For example, even in Colorado, considered to be the ‘thinnest’ state in the nation, obesity rates climbed from 6.9% in 2000 to 22.6% in 2017.

“We’ve had a lot of people in the past going to doctors getting prescription drugs that worked but had a lot of side effects,”​ Danvers said. “We wanted to provide them with herbal equivalents of the things that they were formally getting by prescription.”

The new Nutratech line features 10 products in capsules and liquids that include a number of tried and true weight loss ingredients including Irvingia gabonensis​ (African mango), Phaseolis vulgaris​ (white bean extract) and Garcinia cambogia​.

Mood support as target

Some of the products are aimed at sleep support and managing inflammation and include ingredients such as melatonin and curcumin. But the lion’s share of the line is built around the reliable stimulant ingredient caffeine.

The company has also included phenylethylamine, a naturally occurring substance in the body that has potential cognitive health effects.

“The reason we did that was a few years ago we were selling pills that were mostly based on a stimulant and an appetite suppressant. Then we started including ingredients like phenylethylamine that also affected mood. People who are suppressed eat more, and when we started including those ingredients, the products have sold better,”​ Danvers said.

Changing face of retail

Nutratech sells its products direct to consumers via its own website as well as on Amazon. Danvers said the company is considering brick and mortar distribution by way of diversification, but it’s not the wave of the future, he said.

While the reach of Amazon and other online platforms in the supplement space is still relatively small, he expects that to change rapidly.

“Eighty percent to 85% of sales are still done in retail stores, but that number will decline year after year. And the margins at retail are very small,”​ he said.

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